80pc of population lack services

Editorial

THE number of people moving into cities and towns in search of what they say ‘better life’ will continue to increase.
And this is because most rural areas lack basic government services such as health, education, electricity and road.
About 80 percent of Papua New Guinea’s population live in rural areas where there is little or no access to economic and social services.
Health centres and schools are often cut off from supply chains for months.
The comparison of living conditions of the people of Wereave in Western on the PNG side of the border with Sota along the Indonesian side outlined in this newspaper’s special report yesterday says it all.
While the PNG side had no electricity and water supply, no schools, health centre, economic activities, the other side had all the mentioned ticked off.
It is distressing to observe the current catastrophic failures and continued decline in services especially for women and children.
The anticipated improvements to health services from mining and liquid gas royalties have not eventuated, and the problems of corruption and inefficiency in service provision are compounded by the government’s apparent lack of concern for the health of the population. This has led to a crisis in public health.
Why is primary care access important for rural residents? Primary care is the most basic and, along with emergency and public health services, the most vital service needed in rural communities.
Primary care providers offer a broad range of services and treat a wide spectrum of medical issues.
A variety of elements contribute to these problems in rural areas, including a declining population, economic stagnation, shortages of physicians and other health care professionals, a disproportionate number of elderly, poor, and underinsured residents, and high rates of chronic illness.
A National Research Institute Report PNG Government must provide rural road networks to move the country forward highlighted road network as a significant burden for the rural population. Poor rural roads has been the bottleneck, hindering the country’s rural developments.
It stifles the mobility of the rural communities and this has contributed to increase the poverty of opportunity- the lack of equal access to opportunities- in the country.
About 40 per cent of Papua New Guineans are believed to be living below the poverty line.
This is a real economic, humanitarian and political issue that has been existing in both urban and rural areas over a long time. Yet, the country is very rich with natural resources. Rural poverty is often a product of poor infrastructure that hinders development and mobility. Rural areas tend to lack sufficient roads that would increase access to agricultural inputs and markets.
Rural services are essential to the carrying out of a wide variety of economic and social activities in non-urban areas, where the majority of the world’s poor live.
Services such as credit, market information, research, infrastructure and extension are key assets to development and poverty reduction in rural areas.
The government should make a concerted effort to upgrade/improve basic services in rural areas; – the three main areas being education, health and infrastructure.
There is economic value to the rehabilitation or building of major roads since it is bound to facilitate economic activities.
Since most people are in the rural areas of the PNG, investing in rural roads will stimulate the rural economic activities which will, in turn, reduce the country’s poverty of opportunity rates which will in reduce and one day completely put a stop to rural urban drift. Investing in rural road network is therefore the sure way to move the country forward.

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